Thomas Coryate (1576-1617) was one of the great early travellers, opening up Europe, the eastern Mediterranean, the Holy Land and Mogul India to his amazed – and sometimes disgusted – readers. In 1608 he set out to travel – mostly on foot – through France and Italy to Venice, returning through Switzerland, Germany and the Netherlands. His book reporting on what he had seen and experienced, Coryats Crudites, was published in 1611 and was a huge success, providing both useful information and entertainment through the reported encounters and mishaps of the apparently tireless author. Nowadays few people have actually read the work, which stretches to over a million words, but Coryate demands to be known more widely, since he was the person almost single-handedly responsible for the creation of the Grand Tour, that inescapable finishing process which was to mark a rite of passage for the aristocracy and the upper middle classes of Britain for over 150 years. As one modern editor of Coryate has commented: ‘the scope, reliability and, not least, the entertainment value of the Crudites give it an assured place among the best in the literature of travel’.
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Elizabeth’s Bookshops are one of Australia’s largest second-hand bookshop operations, with 4 shops on both sides of the Australian continent.
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